Roland Holschuh

Roland Holschuh

Collège d'Europe - The Viaduct across the Geul Valley in Moresnet. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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The starting point of this project is a spectacular and historically loaded infrastructural building, situated in the Belgian part of the Euregio: The Geul Valley Viaduct in Moresnet. It was built during World War I to secure supply to the German army. Used for cargo rail traffic since, the viaduct is likely to be de-activated soon.

An experimental line of thought is introduced: Could the ensemble of the valley and the bridge provide a fruitful background for pan-European education? This project studies the possibilitiy of making it the site for a campus of the Collège D´Europe (CDE) - a Bruegge-based EU institution for the education of future EU officials.

Conceptionally, the bridge offers something unique to the proposed international school: the opportunity of positioning itself not on national level, but within a network of European connections and linkages.

My desire therefore is to touch the ensemble with the same clarity and diligence that shows in the construction of the viaduct, and to preserve the symbolic and spatial integrity of the bridge. My scheme proposes to build the CDE in junction with the existing, being programmatically and spatially intertwined with the bridge. Access is through a shuttle train that commutes on the old rails, making the CDE a gravitational spot along the way.

The project consists of three parts. One bay of the bridge is transformed into a docking station, thus linking the CDE to the bridge and the shuttle. A modular hotel is hung in three bays to accommodate the seminar participants. The complex seminar program is housed in a tower placed next to the bridge, reflecting the construction of the bridge with modern building technology. The docking station forms the joint between the bridge, the horizontal and the vertical campus.

The CDE is not an alteration of the bridge. It is constructed as an entity that consciously positions itself within a conceptional and spatial dialogue with the existing situation – thus setting the scene for further development of the European Idea.

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